Is Pinterest a legal minefield?

The platform puts all the responsibility for copyright issues on its users. If you’re using the site, take caution, attorneys say.

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In her blog post about her decision, Kowalski explained that the site’s terms of use stipulate that people who pin photos to the site agree that they are the owners of the photos or have permission from the owners to post them. The terms go on to say, in all caps, “You acknowledge and agree that, to the maximum extent permitted by law, the entire risk arising out of your access to and use of the site, application, services and site content remains with you.”

Those stipulations are troubling, attorneys say. Shy of following Kowalski’s lead and deleting your page, though, the most that users can do is to be as careful as possible.

Is it a real risk?

As Kowalski pointed out, the idea that Pinterest would set its terms so that any user pinning a photo that he or she didn’t own or have permission to use seems contrary to the site’s purpose, since it’s built around quickly sharing images. But Molly DiBianca, an attorney with Young Conaway Stargatt and Taylor, says that’s how it is.

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